Misinterpreted statements of COAS and CJ
Ironically, the speeches of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on November 05 provided fodder to our media which is thriving for long on by creating hype and sensationalism without giving a thought how damaging it could be for the country.
On 5th November 2012, the Army Chief addressed a group of officers followed by a press release issued by ISPR making public the salient of General Kayani’s speech. Same afternoon the Chief Justice of Pakistan addressed a group of mid-level civil servants without having knowledge of the contents of the army Chief’s address. Albeit, this fact was known to the media it manipulated their statements indicting as if there is a clash between the judiciary and the army. Later that evening television channels were all about exciting talk shows and screaming headlines presenting the two statements as tit for tat.
As a matter of fact, despite the difference in nature of the two statements the central point of both army chief and chief justice is the same. Their assertions about the supremacy of the constitution, strengthening the institutions, rule of law, fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution, realization of forgetting mistakes of the past and to take a fresh start for the protection and defence of the homeland show similar views. Yet some elements of media trying to critique the speeches with a biased intent to create confrontation between the two national institutions are beyond comprehension.
Media, today, is one of the most powerful institutions of the world besides being the fourth pillar of any society. It has a great responsibility towards nation building. And now-a-days it is the most effective tool to develop people’s attitude in order to bring a positive change in the society. Unfortunately, our media commentators have been exploiting the recent Asghar Khan case, NLC scam, missing persons, Memogate case, law and order situation in Karachi etc, in order to mislead the general masses about armed forces other than creating a wedge between the main pillars of the country.
And this was so rightly pointed out by Gen. Kayani in his November 5 statement that as a nation, we were passing through a defining phase. So, instead of exploiting differences between key institutions of the country, and tarnishing the image of security forces by setting aside all their past and present sacrifices for Pakistan in wake of war against terrorism, our media must show realistic approach by emphasizing selfless unity among the security forces, politicians and general masses. Media anchors must not create confrontation between Army and Supreme Court which will fulfill anti-state agenda of foreign enemies.
Everyone knows that Pakistan has been facing multi-faceted crises of serious nature coupled with subversive activities by the external-backed insurgents. Amid such security environment, the armed forces of Pakistan have been the most trusted respected and adored institution within the country. People of Pakistan and the media mongers must not forget the services of the Pak Army during floods—particularly during the Earthquake of 2005, entailing restoration of law and order, resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on a number of occasions and so on. Notably, it was army’s personal that saved WAPDA from bankruptcy.
Besides, Pak Army ejected the Taliban from Swat, Dir, Buner and other adjoining areas through military operations. Even, now these forces are coping with the Taliban in some tribal areas by sacrificing their own lives for the security of the country. In Balochistan, Army established a number of schools and colleges including technical institutes, while providing military training to the Baloch people to bring them in the mainstream of the country. The security agencies of Pakistan have captured many militant commanders, foreign agents, and thwarted the subversive acts through pre-arrests of terrorists. Therefore, media persons are required to put up matching maturity and integrity to the freedom that it enjoys.
Accuracy is the first casualty on the altar of eagerness to be the first to pass on an item to viewers. Knowing this weakness of the media, individuals and institutions tend to use it to their own advantage without realising that the next day someone else would use it against them.
The military has a strong accountability system and a self-corrective and quick healing mechanism. Hopefully, the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. It is high time that media stop acting as loose cannon in the best national interest or it will end up rating just a shade higher than the rumour churning entities by the informed viewers.
In the end, it must be understood that the two speeches emphasized the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law, as well as strengthening of state institutions. Both the statements were well meaning, with no intent of malice. Statements and writings can always be interpreted or misinterpreted in different ways. But before venturing into an analytical activity, the media needs to conduct a reality check and place the matter in proper context and correct chronology. The responsible projection of power is a dignified attitude and our media must adhere to it.